Roman Epic

Roman Epic

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Roman epic is both index and critique of the foundational culture of the western world. It is one of Europe's most persistent and determinant poetic modes. In this book distinguished Latinists examine the formation and evolution of Roman epic from its beginnings in the third century BC to the high Italian Renaissance. Featuring a variety of methodologies and approaches, it clarifies the literary importance and political and moral meaning of Roman epic.

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  • Paperback | 356 pages
  • 156 x 228 x 26mm | 621.43g
  • 01 Sep 1996
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • ROUTLEDGE
  • London
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0415143578
  • 9780415143578

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Roman epic lays firm claim to being western civilization's prime literary form. Roman epic draws together fourteen critically and methodologically distinct essays, focusing on particular epicists, their reaction to, influence on and rewriting of each other. The book examines the formation and transformation of Roman epic from its beginnings in the third century BCE Saturnian poets Livius and Naevius to the Renaissance Latin epics of Petrarch and Vida. What results is the revelation of Roman epic not only as Rome's highest poetic genre but as a self-consciously intertextual, primarily political form. The Roman epicist's creative exploitation of his predecessors is not restricted to stylistic similarities and generic codes, but often encompasses more important levels of social, moral and political meaning. In the Roman tradition the epic form shows an impetus to reform the celebratory values implicit in the form itself, admitting a plurality of interactive, often critical, narrative voices. This book reveals how epic developed and critically considers the generic and literary tradition to which the texts belong. It demonstrates epic's critical significance for the foundational culture of the western world.

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